Home > House and Home > Fire Safety

Fire Safety

By: Chris Nickson - Updated: 9 Aug 2010 | comments*Discuss
 
Retirement Fire Safety Escape Plan Smoke

Every night on the news it seems as if we hear about yet another deadly blaze and all too often it's the elderly who are victims. Older people, who often have decreased mobility, are particularly at risk of injury. Once you're over 65, your chances of dying in a fire increase dramatically over the rest of the population. But there are steps you can take to keep you and your home much safer from fire.

Bedroom

Most fires occur at night, when you're sleeping. This is why a smoke detector with an alarm loud enough to wake you is so vital; it can cut your risk of dying in a fire by half. Have it just outside your bedroom and test it monthly, as well as at least one on each floor of your house (make sure the alarm has a British Kitemark and conforms to BS 5446). Replace them every 10 years.

It's tempting to keep electrical flexes against the wall, but be careful - they can get hot and start a fire. If you like a portable heater to warm up your bedroom, keep it three feet away from any fabric and make sure you always turn it off before you go to sleep.

Electric blankets give a wonderful feeling, but they wear out. Replace them every ten years. Check them regularly too and if there's any fraying, an exposed element, scorch marks, or anything that looks even slightly wrong, replace them - it's a lot better than having them start a fire. Turn the blanket off before you get into bed unless it can specifically be left on.

Kitchen

Kitchen fires are one of the leading causes of death for people over 65 and the majority of house fires begin in the kitchen. Make sure you keep a smoke detector there and test it regularly. Always have both a fire extinguisher and a fire blanket handy. Make sure anything fabric, like tea towels and particularly your own sleeves, stay clear of the burners; it only takes a second for something to ignite.

It's easy to forget to turn off the stove or the hob, or just leave a pan sitting on the burner. The best advice is to use a timer when you're cooking. If you're taking medications that leave you drowsy, don't cook after taking them.

Don't panic if a pan catches fire. Turn off the burner and slide a lid on the pan (always use a pot holder). Keep the lid there until everything cools. If it's your chip pan, never use water on it. Instead, smother the flames with a damp towel - or preferably the fire blanket - then call 999 and leave the house.

Electrical

The golden rule is - don't overload plugs or extension cords. If one of your plugs smells strange or starts giving off smoke or sparks, shut it off and call an electrician. Always make sure cords are in places where people won't trip over them.If an appliance overheats, shut it off, then have someone qualified come and take a look at it - do the same if your fuses start blowing for no obvious reason. Make sure you turn off all non-vital appliances before bed (leave the fridge on, of course). Finally make sure every appliance has the proper fuse.

Heating

If you use a fireplace, have the chimney cleaned annually and keep a fire guard on the hearth to stop burning embers igniting your carpet.

With central heating, have the boiler checked every year and bleed the radiators regularly. Portable heaters should be kept at least three feet from anything combustible.

Smoking

We all know smoking is dangerous, but the fires it can start are the main cause of death for seniors. Use deep ashtrays and empty them often - and carefully. Never smoke in bed and never smoke whilst drinking alcohol or on medications that make you drowsy.

Escape Plan

In case of fire, you need to know two ways out of your property. Develop an escape plan and practice it often enough that it's imprinted on your mind - during a fire you might not have time to think clearly. If you do need to get out during a fire, go on all fours - the air's clearer near the floor and smoke kills more people than burns. After you've got out, don't think about going back in for anything.

Night Time Checklist

Every night before you go to bed, check you've switched off and unplugged everything you should (check the cooker too) and that all cigarettes are properly out. If you have a fireplace, make sure the guard is in place. Turn off your electric blanket and be certain all candles (if you use them) are doused. Close room doors to slow the spread of a possible fire.

You might also like...
Share Your Story, Join the Discussion or Seek Advice..
Why not be the first to leave a comment for discussion, ask for advice or share your story...

If you'd like to ask a question one of our experts (workload permitting) or a helpful reader hopefully can help you... We also love comments and interesting stories

Title:
(never shown)
Firstname:
(never shown)
Surname:
(never shown)
Email:
(never shown)
Nickname:
(shown)
Comment:
Validate:
Enter word:
Topics
Latest Comments
  • Rock an Roll guy
    Re: Clubs to Join in Retirement
    Hi I'm wondering if there's a mixed lunch group or club I'm asking on behalf of my 75 year dad
    7 December 2018
  • Rob
    Re: Clubs to Join in Retirement
    I've been retired for 6 months now and it's driving me bonkers. I use the gym every day and walk between 2 and 5 miles a day six…
    3 December 2018
  • Bella
    Re: Clubs to Join in Retirement
    I’m live in Scarborough. I’m looking for a group to do keep fit. Not to fast has I just had a operation and I’m in my year years of…
    3 December 2018
  • Jay
    Re: Clubs to Join in Retirement
    Both I and my partner are in our seventies and live in Lincoln although neither of us come from here. We have been together four…
    29 November 2018
  • Chichi
    Re: Clubs to Join in Retirement
    Hi, I m looking for a club to join . I m a retired 71 year old widow ,active in Durban area Just company to socialise feeling lonely
    28 November 2018
  • Auds
    Re: Clubs to Join in Retirement
    I live near durham city, i am married but my husband has his own interests that doesnt involve me, i would like to have a friend…
    22 November 2018
  • Betty
    Re: Clubs to Join in Retirement
    I need some social life list once-twice a week.i
    21 November 2018
  • Twiggy
    Re: Clubs to Join in Retirement
    My husband passed recently I am looking for a pensioners club or a club with various activities my husband and I ran a club for 30…
    19 November 2018
  • Bojomess
    Re: Clubs to Join in Retirement
    Messagaebfir Delly where do you live anywhere Loughborough
    17 November 2018
  • Bojo
    Re: Clubs to Join in Retirement
    I would like to join a club I’m recently widowed and moved to the Loughborough area but due to my husbands health problems…
    15 November 2018